UPDATE: 29-10-2018 18:07 ET – adds details
Volkswagen and global supplier Mobileye have forged a new partnership aimed at the use of self-driving vehicles.
Executives at the two companies announced a joint venture on Monday and unveiled plans to start an autonomous runaway service in Israel early next year. The service starts in a test phase and gradually shifts to a commercial implementation that is provisionally scheduled for 2022.
By then, "dozens of vehicles will be deployed and we will scale up to hundreds of vehicles as the geography of the program grows," said a Mobileye spokesman.
Thanks to the tie, the two companies within a group of front runners are all in a worldwide race to deploy vehicle fleets of vehicles and scale companies, supported by autonomous technology.
The new joint venture, the new mobility in Israel, was rolled out during the current Smart Mobility summit held this week in Tel Aviv. For now, the companies refused to say whether the service will be available to the general public.
Volkswagen will contribute electric vehicles to the project, although corporate officials will not reveal which models will be used.
Mobileye, a subsidiary of Intel, will provide a self-managing system capable of autonomous autonomous level 4 operations, one that is sufficiently competent not to require involvement of a human driver. That turn-key system contains the driving policy, security software and card details of the company.
Champion Motors is a third member of the partnership and will manage the fleet activities and manage a control center for the company.
Mobileye, based in Jerusalem, has been testing its technology on public roads in Israel for more than a year. Among other things, these tests include the fact that the system can drive assertively enough to keep pace with the country's human drivers, who have built a reputation for their aggressive maneuvers at the wheel, says Mobileye executives.
While Mobileye enters into other autonomous partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and BMW, this is the first use of the company's ready-to-use autonomous system, which was unveiled at the Citi Global Technology Conference in September in Dresden, Germany.
With vehicles powered by electric batteries and computer control, it is seen by leaders of the company as one of the first real examples of the convergence of autonomy and electric powertrains.
"We are convinced that self-propelled electric vehicles will provide Israeli and cities around the world with safe, clean and zero-emission mobility that is accessible and convenient," said Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group.